IDEA Public Schools Enters Fourth Year of Healthy Kids Here Initiative
Four years ago, we developed the Healthy Kids Here initiative to provide a healthy and active lifestyle for our students, increase student access to healthy and nutritious foods, and educate the IDEA Team & Family on health, wellness and nutrition.
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So far, we’ve made great strides in accomplishing this mission. We’ve implemented Fitness Gram Health reporting systems in every PE class. We also launched a community-wide annual IDEA 5K event, and this year we’re hosting one in every region we serve! Our Child Nutrition program installed salad bars on select campuses, and we’ve rewritten our wellness policy so it requires school leaders to eliminate unhealthy food as incentives in the classroom. Additionally, we’ve fostered our Farm to School program, which adopts the “Farm to Table” dining model and sends organic produce directly from IDEA gardens straight to IDEA cafeterias.
This year, Healthy Kids Here is taking on some new initiatives, and one of them is called “Watertopia.”
Watertopia: What It Is and Why It’s Important
Recent studies have identified an association between increased water availability and academic success. Researchers from the University of Wales Swansea found that water consumption among children led to significant increases in memory recall. What’s more, researchers at the University of East London found that students who brought water with them to exams outperformed those who did not.
Yet sadly, a study by the Harvard Chan School of Public Health showed that 54% of children in the United States are not adequately hydrated and approximately 25% of students are not consuming any plain water.
With these findings in mind, select IDEA campuses have retrofitted traditional water fountains with EcoWater external water filtration systems and Elkay water bottle refilling systems in campus cafetoriums (gyms that serve as both an auditorium & cafeteria). These water devices will enhance taste, feature an automatic shut-off valve, and are certified for the removal of lead and other toxins.
Additionally, Watertopia is already providing IDEA academy students with branded collapsible water pouches, and IDEA college preparatory students with branded aluminum water canteens.
Levi Nava, Child Nutrition Program Operations Manager and IDEA parent, had this to say about Watertopia: “It gives me peace of mind knowing my daughter carries a water bottle with her at recess. She has easy access to clean, great-tasting water throughout her day. We are making that a reality for all IDEA students.”
Upon the conclusion of this pilot program, IDEA’s Child Nutrition Program will determine if there is sufficient data proving students increased their water consumption during the school day.
That’s not all. IDEA is also installing family style dining at select campuses, and launching a veggie cook-off this spring. Stay tuned for more Healthy Kids Here news this semester on our blog!
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